BEIJING, July 7 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's new National Security Law will shake up digital surveillance in the city, with strict new company compliance measures that echo the mainland's years-long crackdown on anti-government content.
Reuters: Foreign tech companies have balked at the laws, with Facebook, Twitter and Google among those saying they would suspend requests for data pending clarification of what is required.
Reuters: Experts on Chinese internet laws say the legislation hews closely to mainland policies on national security in cyberspace, giving hints as to what is in store for a city long accustomed to vast digital privacy rights.
Reuters: "To indigenise Hong Kong cyberspace, you would have to do in a very short period of time, and in a very conflictual environment, what the Chinese government was able to do in the mainland over years," said Rogier Creemers of Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Reuters: In details released late on Monday, authorities may require companies to remove online content based on "reasonable grounds to suspect" it violates national security laws. Service providers that fail to comply face jail terms and a $100,000 fine.
Reuters: The stipulation is reminiscent of mainland China's 2017 cyber law, which says operators must "provide technical support and assistance" to authorities seeking to remove or review content based on national security grounds.
Reuters: "If you want to be in Hong Kong, you have to comply with the National Security Law, then you have to cooperate with the Hong Kong police. Very simple, very straightforward," said Francis Fong Po-kiu, honorary president of Hong Kong's Information Technology Federation.
Reuters: Mainland companies and internet service providers must store personal data logs for as long as five years, and create self-censorship mechanisms, while all internet users must be registered to a national ID; such specific restrictions haven't been laid out in Hong Kong.
Reuters: "We still don't have case law. So we'll have to see what happens," Fong said. "But things are going much faster than we expected."
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